Disgraced Tameside-based political activist, Raja Miah, has split from the controversial Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth Party (the POOS or POAS).
In a brief announcement on his frequently banned Recusant Nine platform, on 24th October, 2021, he said: “There is the small matter of a parting of the ways with Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth. As always, I’ll let people make up their own minds”.
More details emerged on that same date during the regular Sunday night broadcast he makes privately to his paying subscribers, believed to number around 200. A significant number of whom are POOS officials, candidates in the recent local council elections, and vociferous party members and supporters.
But the bombshell Miah dropped on Monday 25th October, 2021 has sent shockwaves reverberating around the already toxic Oldham political scene. This is an excerpt from a Facebook post on Recusant Nine:
“In last night’s transmission, I shared with subscribers some things that shouldn’t matter and other things that should. Forget the Saddleworth pi**ing contest being played out by the deluded POAS leadership.
“This team of Captain Mainwarings [a reference to lead character in the evergreen TV comedy, ‘Dad’s Army’] is an irrelevance and will be wiped out come May if they continue with their delusions of winning ten seats in the next election and taking control of the Council in 2023.
“The truth is POAS can’t even secure ten candidates, they have no polices and nothing but sound bites. They have no plan of how to fix a broken town. Whilst all of this is understandable of a relatively new movement, their attack on the Conservatives in Oldham is not.
“The Conservatives have never controlled Oldham. Blaming them for what’s wrong with this town is more than unfair. It’s crude political manipulation.
“My own thoughts are that picking a fight with the Conservatives in Oldham, and treating them as enemies, is either an act of sheer political naivety or POAS are now just in bed with the Labour Party and prepared to do their jobs for them.
“If Oldham is to come back from the brink and wrestle power from this corrupt Labour Party run council, then the Conservatives are part of the solution.
“If POAS’ leaders cannot see this, then irrespective what I think of them, I am certain that the townsfolk will let them know come the election. It’s the wrong fight. It’s a fight for the arrogant and deluded.
“The real fight for the future of Oldham is elsewhere and it’s not in Saddleworth where the Conservatives are historically strongest”.
The post goes on to warmly praise the Deputy Leader of the Oldham and Saddleworth Conservatives, Cllr Beth Sharp. It also brings into sharp focus an article published elsewhere on this website, seven days earlier, in which the growing links between Miah and the Tories was put under scrutiny. The latter, via their appointed press representative, Cllr Dave Arnott, declined to distance themselves from Miah (read in full here).
Local tax inspector and self-proclaimed political analyst, Mohib Uddin, has previously claimed, in a covertly recorded film of a POOS fundraiser, that he and Raja Miah founded the POOS in early 2019. The POOS Facebook page started life as Saddleworth First.
At the time of the publication of this article, the Leader of the POOS, Paul Errock, who stood as a candidate in the 2019 General Election, had made no public announcement about the split from Raja Miah. He appears, however, to have purged mentions of his erstwhile best friend, and political mentor from his Facebook postings over the last two months.
Miah, who claims Errock has been having ‘late night clandestine meetings with a Labour Party official’, has also been removed as a moderator on the POOS official Facebook page. He is, presently, on extended police bail over suspicions of racially aggravated public order and malicious communications offences, the conditions include a night time curfew.
Debbie Barratt-Cole, formerly a prominent Labour politician in Medlock Vale, and who also stood as a POOS candidate in the same General Election, has removed Paul Errock as a moderator on her Oldham First community forum.
Ron Bailey, who stood unsuccessfully as a POOS candidate in the Oldham local elections in May, 2021 says: “The independent parties in Oldham need to put their collective egos to one side if they want to make any difference in the next election, I won’t be holding my breath”.
Two prominent, non-elected Oldham Conservatives, Chair, Lewis Quigg, and the ever-controversial former Labour councillor, Kaiser Rehman, were oddly excluded from Miah’s latest eulogy on his new found political party allies.
Paul Errock was offered right of reply. However, before that was exercised, he posted on this formal statement on his Facebook page:
“POAS and Raja Miah will no longer be working together.
“We would like to thank him for his contributions and wish him well in the future.
“POAS is committed to its core values and will not deviate from those founding principles”
It is not clear what those principles are and Mr Errock has been invited to clarify and, also, to explain at least some of the background to the shock split. He has admitted to having late night, clandestine meetings with a councillor in a car park. He has previously alluded to Council paid officers being his source for financial information allegedly leaked to him concerning the Spindles development and other capital projects.
In a lengthy reply to a demand for transparency and the full reasons behind the split, made by Yvonne Errock, this was posted by Paul Errock:
“Accept what you say, but Raja is acting out of character and irrationally right now.
His conduct is of the type he’s been criticising this past two years (which I agree with him by the way), but not a lot we can do when he’s lost his temper.
“Raja left of his own accord. I asked him not too.
“He wasn’t whipped or sacked.
“We made no comment other than to wish him all the best, and he’s gone berserk, it’s very much out of character.
“He’s having a total meltdown, hence we are merely distancing ourselves until such time that he starts behaving rationally.
“Very much on side with what is said “tactics” wise, and I speak regularly with Councillors of both main parties, and occasionally with the Lib Dem’s.
“They have been (particularly this last several months), very civil and mannerable with me”.
But the explanation as to what caused the rift between Raja Miah and the POOS is still the missing link. From both sides of the fence. One of the bones of contention appears to be that Miah was barred from the POOS Facebook page without being informed before it happened.
Jeremy Sutcliffe, a former councillor, retired schoolteacher and now Honorary Secretary of Oldham Labour Party, has pointed out a mistake in Raja Miah’s claim that the Tories have never been in power in the Borough. They were, in fact, the controlling party in 1978-1980.
Page last updated at 2055hrs on Monday 25th October, 2021
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